Comparing the mRNA expression profile and the genetic determinism of intramuscular fat traits in the porcine gluteus medius and longissimus dorsi muscles

Rayner González-Prendes, Raquel Quintanilla, Emilio Mármol-Sánchez, Ramona N. Pena, Maria Ballester, Tainã Figueiredo Cardoso, Arianna Manunza, Joaquim Casellas, Ángela Cánovas, Isabel Díaz, José Luis Noguera, Anna Castelló, Anna Mercadé, Marcel Amills

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21 Citations (Scopus)


© 2019 The Author(s). Background: Intramuscular fat (IMF) content and composition have a strong impact on the nutritional and organoleptic properties of porcine meat. The goal of the current work was to compare the patterns of gene expression and the genetic determinism of IMF traits in the porcine gluteus medius (GM) and longissimus dorsi (LD) muscles. Results: A comparative analysis of the mRNA expression profiles of the pig GM and LD muscles in 16 Duroc pigs with available microarray mRNA expression measurements revealed the existence of 106 differentially expressed probes (fold-change > 1.5 and q-value < 0.05). Amongst the genes displaying the most significant differential expression, several loci belonging to the Hox transcription factor family were either upregulated (HOXA9, HOXA10, HOXB6, HOXB7 and TBX1) or downregulated (ARX) in the GM muscle. Differences in the expression of genes with key roles in carbohydrate and lipid metabolism (e.g. FABP3, ORMDL1 and SLC37A1) were also detected. By performing a GWAS for IMF content and composition traits recorded in the LD and GM muscles of 350 Duroc pigs, we identified the existence of one region on SSC14 (110-114 Mb) displaying significant associations with C18:0, C18:1(n-7), saturated and unsaturated fatty acid contents in both GM and LD muscles. Moreover, we detected several genome-wide significant associations that were not consistently found in both muscles. Further studies should be performed to confirm whether these associations are muscle-specific. Finally, the performance of an eQTL scan for 74 genes, located within GM QTL regions and with available microarray measurements of gene expression, made possible to identify 14 cis-eQTL regulating the expression of 14 loci, and six of them were confirmed by RNA-Seq. Conclusions: We have detected significant differences in the mRNA expression patterns of the porcine LD and GM muscles, evidencing that the transcriptomic profile of the skeletal muscle tissue is affected by anatomical, metabolic and functional factors. A highly significant association with IMF composition on SSC14 was replicated in both muscles, highlighting the existence of a common genetic determinism, but we also observed the existence of a few associations whose magnitude and significance varied between LD and GM muscles.
Original languageEnglish
Article number170
Pages (from-to)170
JournalBMC Genomics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2019


  • Duroc pig
  • Fatty acid content
  • Gene expression
  • Genome-wide association analysis
  • Intramuscular fat
  • Genome-Wide Association Study
  • Humans
  • Swine/genetics
  • Muscle, Skeletal/growth & development
  • Meat/analysis
  • RNA, Messenger/genetics
  • Phenotype
  • Quantitative Trait Loci/genetics
  • Animals
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental/genetics
  • Adipose Tissue/growth & development
  • Thigh/growth & development
  • Lipid Metabolism/genetics
  • Paraspinal Muscles/growth & development


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